Probably one of my favorite movies. While I understood the story of friendship and civil rights, I couldn't get past the 'Whistle Stop Café'...low-country hot, with fans running nonstop to churn the heavy air;a fog of BBQ and baking layer cake and peach pies, likely someone humming the blues from a wooden booth in the corner. I read the book in high school, saw the movie in the theatre, then bought it, so I could obsess over the food-especially the scene near the end when Evelyn (Kathy Bates) brings her aging friend Ninny (Jessica Tandy) fried green tomatoes to her room at the nursing home, and Ninny bites into one immediately (crispy crunch easily picked up by the boom mic).
This summer I am growing four tomato plants. One heirloom ruby, one cherry, and two yellow boys. What is nice, is having the yellow tomatoes, because they are so soft in flavor when ripe, but citrusy and firm when green. Perfect for this recipe.
Important to know: You will need to fry the tomatoes in bacon grease. Don't freak out, it imparts authentic flavor and isn't a deep fry, you are mainly crisping the coating and giving it that smoky, awesome, bacony-kick. (You can scrap that and use regular oil also) Too, while this recipe is very slightly modified in the way of spices, the steps are pretty darn near original and pretty damn smacking delicious. I think Ninny Threadgoode would approve.
"These are excellent piping hot or at room temp. For extra oomph, serve with dollops of cold sour cream."
Notes: Find green tomatoes in your garden, from a friend's garden, or at the farmer's market. You can also ask your grocer's produce manager if they keep a few green ones in the back until ripe before putting out, and buy those.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Ingredients: 1 large or 2 medium green tomatoes, 1 cup corn meal, 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp. garlic salt, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 tsp. dried parsley, 1 tsp. black pepper, 3-4 pieces cooked bacon-crumbled, 3 tbsp. grease from recently fried bacon or neutral oil
1. Wash and slice tomatoes approximately 1/2 inch thick.
2. Whisk corn meal, flour, garlic salt, paprika and cayenne pepper together in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, stir together the buttermilk, dried parsley and pepper.
3. Dip the tomato slices into the corn meal mixture, then in the buttermilk, then back into the cornmeal mixture. Lay on a plate.
4. Heat the bacon grease or oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil sputters when you fling a couple drops on to it. Fry the tomatoes until brown (about 5-7 minutes), then flip and go 4-5 minutes on the second side. Remove to paper towels. Rain over some chopped fresh parsley and crumbled bacon before serving.